Wondering what makes Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, a summertime heaven? We’re here with a long list of reasons! From the scenic beauty that’ll make room in your heart, to the perfect outdoorsy weather, from unique and delectable dishes to try, to photoshoots that you’d be tempted to do at every nook and cranny, there’s a lot to satiate the soul in Dharamshala. Statutory warning: By the time we reach the end, some readers might find themselves running towards their suitcases and booking their tickets to this breathtaking hill station.
When to visit Dharamshala?
Dharamshala is geographically blessed to have a pleasant climate during summer. The best time to visit Dharamshala is hence, from the end of March till the end of June. The mornings and the afternoons are just right for exploration and sun-soaking. The air gets slightly chilly as the sun sets. But don’t worry, it won’t get frosty. You can also expect a mild rainfall and maybe some hailstorms May onwards.
Avoid visiting the city from July till the end of monsoon, as there’s a high risk of landslides.
A thick blanket of snow shrouds Dharamshala in winters. Want to celebrate a white Christmas? You know where to go!
How to reach Dharamshala?
By road: Dharamshala has a good road connectivity. The modes of transportation could be private and roadways buses, private taxis, and one’s own vehicle. This stunning hill station is 29 km away from Kangra, 85 km away from Pathankot, 119 km away from Dalhousie, 239 km away from Shimla, 241 km away from Chandigarh, 486 km away from Delhi, and 713 km away from Jaipur.
By train: Pathankot’s railway station falls closest to Dharamshala. One can book a train from his/her hometown to Pathankot, and continue the remaining journey on public transport or hire a private taxi.
By air: Dharamshala has an airport that receives a considerable number of flights from Delhi.
Places to visit in Dharamshala
Preparing an itinerary for Dharamshala? Well, let’s help you out with some of Dharamshala’s unmissables!
The Triund Trek
At this spot, you’ll come face with nature’s spellbinding beauty. Trust us, there’s no exaggeration. The view your eyes capture will soothe your soul and stay with you for a long time. On one side, you’ll witness the Dhauladhar Ranges, and on the other, the rolling valley.
The enrolment fee to participate in the trek is generally around INR 2600.
Note: Trekking is closed in the months of January and February.
When in Dharamshala, it’s a must to pay a visit to Dalai Lama’s home – the Namgyal Monastery. This monastery, which was established by the second Dalai Lama in the 16th century, happens to be the largest Tibetan monastery built outside of Tibet. Currently, it houses about 200 monks, working towards preservation of the monastery’s ancient rituals, traditions, and art.
The visiting hours are from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. Tourists generally enjoy trekking all the way to the monastery. But if walking a lot isn’t your scene, you may hire a pre-paid cab to reach the monastery. The guest house, the book store, and the cafe are accessible for the tourists.
You can learn a lot about Buddhism and the lives of the monks living there by interacting with them. However, don’t disturb the meditating monks!
Dharamshala Cricket Stadium
Dharamshala’s divinely gorgeous cricket stadium is also known as Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium. An interesting fact: Built at an altitude of 1457 m above the sea level, this stadium is the highest sports ground in the world. Surrounding the premises are the ranges of Dhauladhar.
HPCA Stadium is open to visitors even when no cricket match is calendered. This major tourist attraction can be visited from 9:00 am in the morning to 6:00 pm in the evening. While the tickets act as the entry pass on match days, one has to pay INR 20 to enter the scenic stadium on non-match days.
St. John in the Wilderness Church
One has to travel a distance of nearly 8 km to reach this neo-gothic church located in McLeod Ganj. St. John in the Wilderness is an Anglican church, dedicated to John, the Baptist. The church is open from 9:00 am till 6:00 pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 10:30 am to 11:30 am on Sunday.
The captivating features of this church are the Deodar trees that surround it, and the Belgian windows with stained-glasses.
Kareri Dal Lake
Dal Lake may have reminded you of the one in Kashmir. But did you know that Dharamshala has an equally alluring Kareri Dal Lake of its own. If there’s a spot on earth, where the beauty of nature is at its epitome, this is it.
The best things in life are free, and so is gazing at the rugged mountains, sunrises, and sunsets at Dharamshala’s Kareri Dal Lake. It’s a shallow fresh water lake, that derives its water from Dhauladhar’s melting snow. The sporty ones can throw on their comfiest shoes and get set for a trek in the surrounding area. It’s always advisable to keep a first aid kit and a lot of eatables in handy.
Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of exiled Tibetans, resides at Tsuglagkhang Complex. Within the periphery, one can find a Tibetan museum showcasing significant historic events like the Chinese invasion, a Namgyal Gompa where the debates take place, and a Tsuglagkhang temple. The temple is dedicated to Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokiteswara (the Buddha of compassion), and Padmasambhavna. The trail for the sacred Kora will lead you through mesmerizing hillside views, an array of prayer flags, prayer wheeles, and shrines.
The Kalchakra (Wheel of Time) Temple was established in 1992, on the west of the Tsuglagkhang Temple. This marvel of architecture is used by Dalai Lama as a centre of public teaching. The murals of Kalchakra, associated with Avalokitesvara, exhibited on the walls of this temple will surely leave you in awe. The temple is also decorated with Tibet’s traditional Thangka paintings, frescos of the 772 deities of mandala, and the statue of Shakayamuni Buddha. The Kalchakra Temple is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in Dharamshala. It’s a must to put this beautifully architectured temple on your Dharamshala itinerary.
Lahesh Cave Trek
Taking this moderately-difficult, ultra-long trek isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t even bother thinking about it if you aren’t into adventures.
Lahesh Caves are situated at a distance of nearly 5 hours from the Triund Hill. The route one needs to take to reach the caves begins at Dharamshala, passes through Dharamkot and Snowline, and finally concludes at Lahesh Cave.
Innumerable adventure enthusiasts take this scenic trek every year. Some of the things they advise everyone to carry are rucksacks, spiked shoes (if you’re going during winters), comfortable sports shoes or trekking shoes otherwise, flipflops, woollens, thermals, glasses, medical kits, gloves, all the toiletries that you can think of, trekking poles, a flashlight with batteries, a tent, and a sleeping bag.
Although the caves are open from March to December, the best time to embark upon this trek is in the months of May, June, September, October, and November.
Sitting at an elevation of 5860 meters, this is the highest peak of Dhauladhar Range. The journey to the top is nature’s treat in true senses. Which is why, it’s also termed every hikers dream! This hike requires tonnes of practice, guts, and experience. It’s not something a beginner should take up.
If you crave more spectacular views, Indrahar Pass is the next place to go to! You’ll find it as you move a little ahead of the Lahesh Caves. Precisely, the Indradhar Pass lies at the Chamba-Kangra border.
If you plan on trekking, we’d advise you to keep your cameras charged. You may want to break into a photoshoot every few kms. There are flower-clad valleys, crystal clear lakes, mighty mountains (often snowclad), and a lot more on the way to Indrahar Pass.
Dharmsala Tea Company
A hot cup of tea is surely everyone’s cup of tea, am I rite? Chai lovers in the house say “Yayy,” cuz we’re headed for a hot cuppa in Dharamshala’s super pleasant weather! Skipping to the good part- it’s distunguishably fresh!
A brief history- Dharmsala Tea Company has been developed with utmost love and dedication by the Mann family. They own a total of three estates in Dharamshala, which are Mann Tea Estate, Hoodle Tea Estate, and Towa Tea Estate.
Learn all about different kinds of handcrafted tea, get some plucking experience, or just enjoy some of janta’s favourites off the menu, the choice is yours. While many of us weren’t aware of Green Tea and its benefits till 7 years ago, this estate has been producing it since 19th century.
You can even purchase some of this organic goodness for your home.
Up for a picnic amid the extremely gorgeous scenery? You should totally go for one by the Bhagsunag Waterfalls, situated in the quaint little village called Bhagsu. These falls are one of the most widely known and visited tourist attractions in the Dharamshala district. If you’re planning to put Bhagsunath Temple on your Dharamshala itinerary, don’t forget to add the Bhagsunath Temple, which is situated at a short distance from the falls.
There’s a trek trail that takes you all the way up to the point from where the water falls down. The path may get slippery, hence the elderly and the children should refrain from going there.
Owing to the fall’s massive popularity, numerous eateries that serve legit drool-worthy bites and beverages have been built up in the surrounding area. Delicious food with a mesmerizing view is always a great combination. Hence, don’t come to the falls with a full stomach.
The war memorial is built in honour of all those bravehearts who lost their lives defending the Nation during the wars that took place in 1947-48, 1962, 1965, and 1971. It’s situated very close to the city’s entry, and can be checked out even before you check-in to your hotel. The elegant memorial is surrounded by well-maintained gardens. The name of each warrior can be found engraved on stones.
Masroor Rock Cut Temples
Want them Cambodian feels? Check out the Masroor Rock Cut Temples situated 40 km away from Kangra. These monolithic structures, designed in the Indo-Aryan style, famous as the Himalayan Pyramids also happen to be a very popular archaeological site.
There’s a total of 15 temples cut out of the same rock, wherein the main one, known as the Thakurdwara, has been constructed for Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Sita.
The legend has it that the temples were built by the Pandavas after they were exiled from their kingdom. They stayed here for a long period of time.
Where to eat in Dharamshala?
Dharamshala is one of the very popular cities on the map of India. Apart from the fascinating history, oh-so-scenic beauty, great climate, and a list of tourist spots, there’s another thing that lures tourists to the city. That’s the food.
Here’s a list of all the great places that you can visit if you hear your belly rumbling:
Tibet Kitchen: Looking for some delectable Tibetan delicacies like dumplings, noodles, and thukpas? The food served at the Tibet Kitchen, situated at the Jogiwara Road, McLeod Ganj, is beyond awesome! You’ll definitely love it.
Ogo’s Cafe Italiano: This quaint and petite eatery is situated in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala. They serve some amazing pizzas, pasta, waffles, sandwiches, and other continental snacks at a very affordable price.
Norling Restaurant and Cafe: If you’re looking for a place that boasts of boath, a great ambience and delicious food, this is it! Try some authentic Tibetan preparations at the Norling Restaurant and Cafe. You won’t be disappointed!
Illiterati Cafe: Identify as a bibliophile? The Illiterati Cafe, situated on the Jogiwara Road, Dharamshala, will surely take your heart! Choose a book and make it your companion, while your food is prepared and served. Little birdies tell us that this cafe serves the best ever hot chocolate and chicken schnitzel.
Lung Ta: Are you a sushi person? Lung Ta, a Japanese restaurant situated in McLeod Ganj serves the best veg sushi in town!
Treebo’s Dharamshala Hotels
Aren’t you tempted to pack your bags and embark upon a happy journey to Dharamshala? Treebo has got the perfect accommodations to suit all budgets. In addition to gorgeously furnished comfortable spaces packed with our thoughtful amenities, we also offer complimentary breakfast and access to WiFi. Click here to choose your favourite one from our catalogue of hotels.